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Diesels outperform hybrids on motorways

Hybrid cars have been applauded for giving more miles per gallon on busy city roads. But research has found they are typically outperformed by standard diesel engines on motorways.

The unique selling point of a hybrid is that it supposedly offers more miles per gallon than its diesel or petrol counterparts. This is because they can use battery power when moderately accelerating and recapture energy whilst braking.

There’s just one small problem. Although hybrids are great vehicles for urbanites who do most of their driving in busy towns or cities, they are far from ideal for those who live in less populated areas and regularly use motorways, as a study by Omissions Analytics discovered.

The reason, according to the study, is down to manufacturers focussing mainly on the battery. Inadequate focus is, therefore, often given to the fossil fuel-drinking engine that forms the other half of the equation.

A Toyota Auris and another hybrid were put up against a number of diesels including the Honda Civic, Skoda Octavia, Peugeot 308 and Mazda 3. What Car and Omissions Analytics found the hybrid average was 58.7mpg – less than the diesel average.

Even when the battery charge of a hybrid was taken into account, diesels were still said to perform better in the fuel economy stakes.

Making matters worse is the fact hybrids (and cars in general) are generally tested at low speeds, leading potential buyers to opt for a hybrid under the false assumption they will always get more miles per gallon than, say, a regular diesel of petrol.

Omissions Analytics representative Nick Molden said: “Hybrids have an aura that they are unquestionably a good thing, the general feel out there is that if you have a hybrid you are doing something that is unquestionably good for the planet and that’s not necessarily true, and it’s not necessarily good for your wallet.”

“Hybrids may deliver good but not best-in-class fuel economy, but they are typically the cleanest, and if you are a light-footed, congested-town driver, they are ideal. But if you are a motorway cruiser, you are working mostly on the engine and running on a relatively inefficient petrol engine. It is about matching the vehicle to the job,” he added.

Do you own a Hybrid car? If the answer is yes, then it would be great to hear your personal experiences.


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